Harvest roundup: Stopped again

Rain has brought harvest to a halt once again across most of the UK today (18 August), but a lot of crops are only just ripe.

To date, farmers had cut almost half of the winter wheat crop, and although yields were below average, early quality was good, said the HGCA.

“Yields are improving as more crops are harvested, but are still below the five-year average at 7.3-7.7t/ha (3-3.1t/acre),” said its latest report.

Average sample results were good at 78-80kg/hl, 275 to >300 Hagberg, and 12.5-13.5% protein.

In Dorset, Tim Merry was over halfway through harvest at J.V. Farming Ltd, Whitcombe, but was rained off again today.

The team cut the first 35% of crops within the first week of harvest, taking a further two weeks to cut another 17%, with showers and dull days slowing progress.
“I suspect we will not get cutting again until at least later on Friday,” he said. “If the weather held we would need another fortnight to complete harvest.”

Paul Hartley was also waiting for the weather to dry out before continuing combining wheat at Frank Hartley & Sons, Downham Market, Norfolk.

“We finished a bit of Viscount on Monday but the later drilled wheat wasn’t quite ready,” he said.

“There was so much secondary growth that a plant would have one hard ear and the next was still milky.”

In Yorkshire, Steve Dawson was about to make a start on combining 1417ha (3500 acres) of wheat at Dawson Farms, Swainby, where yields so far had been wonderful.

“It’s been a bit stop start, but we’ve finished the rapeseed and have got a day left in the oats.

“Yields have been absolutely fantastic – goodness knows where they’ve come from.”

Jim Whiteford had also finished combining oilseed rape at Shandwick Mains, Tain, Inverness, and was waiting for spring barley to ripen.

“Our 25ha (62 acres) of Cracker and Sequoia gave a dried yield of 4.57t/ha (1.85t/acre); our best yield ever, and due, I am sure, to the advanced header technology of our Claas Lexion straw walker.”

Mr Whiteford’s new machine came 50 years after the farm’s first Claas combine, and its large capacity would help to get the 263ha (650 acres) of wheat and spring barley in quickly when the weather eventually dried out, he said.

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